Drivers returning to the roads after a traumatic experience can now stick a blue “R Plate” sign on their cars to tell other drivers to give them space and patience. It’s certainly a choice and we’re sure it won’t backfire in the slightest. Not at all. No issues here whatsoever.
The plates are an initiative by MyCar — Kmart’s tyre and auto business — and are available to order or download online. The “R” stands for “Returning Driver”, but are not mandated by State Governments’ road authorities. They’re more of an opt-in scheme like Baby On Board signs or those stick figure families boomers got super obsessed with in 2013.
The overwhelming response to the R Plates roll out has asked one major question: did anyone think this through at all?
As a disabled person, for the love of god do not this, I know where this is going https://t.co/uVXRyeYCGC
— John Delmenico (@thebigjohnnyd) October 5, 2022
I don’t anticipate any one mistaking what the R stands for
— works on contingency (@ohsurehaha) October 5, 2022
Could they pick literally any other letter
— milk loaf (@maximum_chips) October 5, 2022
“what about F plates”
“nah you know what people will say”
“ok, C plates then”
“yep, what could possibly go wrong?”
— atticus binch (@gIenallen) October 5, 2022
Apart from the obvious slur that other drivers will almost definitely yell at R Platers on the roads, it’s essentially painting a giant target on your car for further harassment.
Do we not remember what it was like being on our L Plates and needing space and time to get the confidence to hurtle a giant, heavy metal box on wheels down a long stretch of bitumen? One experience I have seared into my brain was when I didn’t merge to the left quick enough on a country highway and got screamed at by several passing cars.
Sorry but these new plates are probably just going to perpetuate and extend the trauma around driving and being on the road.
And are we really to believe that nobody at any point of the creation process — the design briefs, the meetings or the email chains that surely exist — thought “hmm this might not land the way we want it to”? Surely not.